In response to a White House petition that drew more than 65,000 signatures, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy confirmed that the Obama administration will make all scientific research and journal articles supported by federal tax dollars freely available online. The move comes just six weeks after the suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz, whose death has been frequently blamed on stress caused by his upcoming federal trial for mass-downloading millions of JSTOR articles. But Swartz’s supporters — and those members of the public who actually want to read scientific journals — may want to hold their applause until they’ve heard the catch: Federal agencies will be allowed to keep all research material confidential for up to 12 months, or possibly even longer. So, if you’re in a hurry to read the latest and greatest in cutting-edge research, you’ll still have to pay for those subscriptions.
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